NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 23 – Kenya’s first Attorney General Sir Charles Njonjo turned 100 Thursday.
The Duke of Kabeteshire, as he is known to his peers, Njonjo has seen it all, having served in the regimes of Jomo Kenyatta and Daniel arap Moi—Kenya’s first two presidents in independent Kenya.
Njonjo, who hails from Kabete in the outskirts of the capital Nairobi, is known for his English mannerisms and eloquence entrenched in Britain where he undertook studies and lived for some time before coming back to Kenya and subsequently taking up the AG’s job.
He was a close confidant to Jomo, who at some point, implored on him to marry at 52, when he felt uncomfortable getting legal advice from a bachelor, according to reports.
“He was an instrumental pillar in the post-independence Kenya, has his name eternally ingrained in this country’s history as a lawmaker, chief legal advisor, policy formulator and an astute influencer in many memorable moments of our young life as a nation,” said Francis Kimemia, the Nyandarua Governor, who chairs the Central Kenya Economic Bloc.
In his birthday message, Kimemia said, “Sir Charles Njonjo, we celebrate you.”
Nairobi Woman Rep Esther Passaris, said “Wishing my good friend Sir Charles Njonjo a Happy 100th Birthday. Thank you for your mentorship and support over the years.”
At 95, just five years ago, Njonjo walked strong, and could even drive his Range Rover to town, (in Nairobi), sometimes to have lunch with his friend Raila Odinga, a permanent political figure in Kenya’s politics, who worked in the governments of Moi, Kibaki and now a close ally of President Uhuru Kenyatta, with whom they are championing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Njonjo, married to a British woman, is always donning black striped suits worn with a fresh red rosebud in his lapel.
Ahead of Thursday’s birthday, the Alliance High School alumni was flown to Uganda, to track Gorilla’s and was awarded a certificate.
He studied in Kings College-Bido in Uganda in 1939 for a pre-university course, before proceeding to South Africa University. He would later join Exeter University and London School of Economics (LSE) until 1950. He returned back to Kenya 1954 when he was given a job as a High Court Registrar under the colonial government, later promoted to Registrar General. He would later rise to the rank of Senior Crown Counsel at the Attorney General’s office.
As privileged as he was, coupled by his academic credentials, Njonjo further moved up, in 1962 when Njonjo when he was named Deputy Public Prosecutor.
And when Kenya attained independence, Jomo appointed him Attorney General, which effectively made him an ex-oficio Member of Parliament for Kabete.
When Jomo died in 1978, Moi retained him as AG but they fell out when he felt he was a threat to his presidency.
From Capital FM, we wish Sir Charles Njonjo a happy 100th birthday.